Bowdon Hightown triumph over East Grinstead

Bowdon Hightown in action at final 450

Bowdon Hightown 4 (1)
Holly Hunt, 18 (FG)
Tina Cullen, 25 (FG)
Sally Walton, 28, 40 (FG, PS)

East Grinstead 1 (0) 
Jojo Davis, 22 (PS)

Bowdon Hightown exorcised their Wembley demons of a year ago with a scintillating display to run out 4 - 1 winners over first-time finalists East Grinstead. Sally Walton grabbed a brace and Tina Cullen and Holly Hunt notched one apiece to take the title home for the Red and Blacks.

East Grinstead women were looking to be the first of a final double for the club, ahead of the men’s final later in the day. However, the Manchester side had other ideas.

The opening minutes saw both teams equally matched. The first real chance of the game fell to East Grinstead's Heather Batten in the sixth minute but her shot landed fractionally wide of goal. Further shots for both teams just missed the target. With just under three minutes to go Holly Hunt broke the deadlock with a well taken goal from open play.

East Grinstead came out re-energised for the second half and took the attack to Bowdon with the equaliser coming early in the half from captain JoJo Davis with a penalty stroke. 

The Sussex side had the chance to take the lead, however, it was Hightown's Tina Cullen who put her team back in front with a typically clinical finish.  Three minutes later, a further goal from Sally Walton gave them some breathing space.

With two minutes remaining on the clock a penalty corner gave East Grinstead a chance to  close the gap but Davis’ shot was just wide. Bowdon broke quickly and were awarded a penalty stroke seconds from time. Despite a return to the field by East Grinstead’s goalkeeper, Becky Waters, Walton’s shot found the net and ensured the silverware was heading back to Manchester.

Captain Michelle Liptrot said aftewards: "It feels amazing to be champions. We were so disappointed after last year when we didn't really turn up, and this year we've trained hard and we've done a great job so we're absolutely delighted."

"We talked about last year's performance a lot, but the minute you get out on that pitch it's all gone, and it's about what's in front of you and the moment in time, so what happened last year wasn't an issue at all. Every year seems to be my last year. I'm very tempted to play next year. When you get into Europe, it's a very special thing for the team, so I'll definitely think about it - if I can do it, I might persuade Tina to do it too!"

With East Grinstead pushing hard for promotion, your next chance to see these stars in action is at the Investec Women's League Finals weekend in April. Tickets are on sale now - click here to find out more.